Carson-Newman Cited by Newsweek as One of Top Service-Minded Schools

Fifth Annual Operation Inasmuch Should Push # of Volunteers over 2,500 Mark

In its first ever college guide, Newsweek magazine ranks Carson-Newman College among the country’s 25 best “service-minded schools.” A total of 510 four-year institutions were evaluated and C-N was ranked 13 among the top 25 schools featured in the publication.

Published in conjunction with Kaplan, the 2010 “Finding the Right College For You” guide uses categories that its editors say are “tailored to address the real concerns of prospective students and their parents in an increasingly complex admissions process.” (The information is available online at http://education.newsweek.com.)

Partnering with Washington Monthly, the guide’s editors considered colleges and universities based on student commitment to service (including number of students and hours invested), faculty, number of students in ROTC programs relative to the school’s size, proportion of alumni who have served in the Peace Corps, incorporation of service in classes, percentage of federal work-study money given to community-service projects and service-based scholarships.

C-N President Randall O’Brien called the recognition “gratifying, yet not surprising. It’s great to know that Carson-Newman’s long history of active compassion and Christian service has been noted at the national level. I might be expected to say that we are grateful to Newsweek’s editors and others involved in the recognition, but we are truly grateful for and humbled by our students who are willing to serve.”

According to Dr. O’Brien, it takes effort to foster an ethic of service. “Our faculty instills in their students a sense that God knows how much we care by how much care we give to others, and these efforts are also often replete with faculty and staffers who volunteer too. I am pleased to see that scholarship dollars were part of the research rationale because we are grateful to partners like the Bonner Foundation, the U.S. Army and Tennessee Baptists, all of whom help make such funds available to our students.”

The timing of the recognition is fitting as the College’s Campus Ministries and Community Connection Offices put the final touches on planning C-N’s fifth annual Operation Inasmuch (OI) workday, slated for Saturday. Carson-Newman was the first college or university to implement the service model, which began as a church ministry in North Carolina several years ago.

OI participation has steadily grown each year, from 290 in 2006 to 619 last year. C-N Campus Minister Nenette Measels expects the five-year total number of participants to break the 2,500 mark when Saturday’s tally is added. Students, along with faculty and staff, will go to service sites across Jefferson and Hamblen counties where they will help service agencies and their clients.

C-N’s inclusion on last year’s President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll was a factor in the model used in the Newsweek ranking. Data for the survey period used to select schools for the Honor Roll offers impressive figures for C-N student involvement. Almost 1,400 members of the student body actively engaged in volunteer efforts and 158 of those students were part of classes that incorporate service-learning in the curriculum. All together, C-N students contributed some 59,000 hours of community service in the time frame studied.

C-N’s School of Nursing and Behavioral Health, in conjunction with the College’s Army ROTC program, has been recognized as the country’s leading producer of nurses who join the military upon graduation. Presently, 24 of the Eagle Battalion’s 72 cadets (33%), are nursing majors who will join the military when they graduate. The program’s success has obtained Army recognition as a Nursing Center of Excellence for Education, say Eagle Battalion officials.

The Bonner Scholars Program, of which C-N is a charter member, offers valuable scholarship dollars to students in exchange for at least 140 community service hours per semester. With 52 current students, the program will account for 14,560 service hours this academic year alone.

While the numbers are impressive, so are results. Amy Scott, a recent graduate, interned with Jefferson County’s juvenile court system and saw firsthand the problems created by high school truancy. In response to the situation, Scott worked with the Bonner Center to establish the Journey Program, through which C-N students mentor truants and those who are otherwise at risk of dropping out of school.

Another effort is the Afterschool Program, a partnership between the Bonner Center and Jefferson City’s Housing Authority. The housing authority had space but few monetary and human resources while C-N had students in need of experience. School of Education faculty members helped shape a program that now exists at two sites.

Other C-N programs dedicated to volunteerism include SPOTS (Special Projects Other Than Summer), which provided 173 spring and fall break missionaries last year, and BCM-sponsored summer mission programs, through which 43 C-N students recently took part in initiatives in 10 states and 10 foreign countries. Appalachian Outreach, the College’s auxiliary ministry, offers volunteer opportunities throughout the year, including AO Workdays as well a Samaritan